Greg Norman has accused the PGA Tour of hypocrisy over its stance on the LIV Golf Invitational Series.
The Saudi-backed Series has attracted criticism for months, with the majority concerning the source of the funding and the reason for it, with many accusing the Saudis of attempting to use the venture to sportswash its human rights records.
Speaking on One Nation with Brian Kilmeade on Fox News on Saturday night, the LIV Golf CEO responded to the suggestion from American sports commentator Bob Costas that the players were accepting ‘blood money,’ claiming: “Look, I’m disappointed people go down that path, quite honestly. If they want to look at it in prism, then why does the PGA Tour have 23 sponsors doing 40 plus billion dollars worth of business with Saudi Arabia? Why is it OK for the sponsors? Will Jay Monahan [PGA Tour Commissioner] go to each and every one of those CEOs of the 23 companies that are investing into Saudi Arabia and suspend them and ban them? The hypocrisy in all this, it’s so loud. It’s deafening.”
The PGA Tour has been open in its dislike of the start-up from the outset. In February, Monahan told players at a mandatory players’ meeting that anyone joining the Series could “walk out that door now”. That was followed last month by the PGA Tour officially declining LIV Golf releases. Finally, within minutes of the inaugural tournament starting at the Centurion Club earlier this month, the PGA Tour announced suspensions for those taking part.
Despite the hurdles, Norman remains adamant that the venture is here to stay. He said: “We’re not going anywhere, we want to do what’s right for the fans, for the players and for our commercial business model. We are going to forge forward. And there’s been a lot of obstacles, Brian, no question about it. There’s been a lot of obstacles the PGA Tour’s thrown in our path, but you know what? We’ve worked around it because golf is a force for good.”
Norman also revealed that, with concerns over the legitimacy of the Series without eligibility for Official World Golf Ranking points, he plans to address that imminently. He said: “We’re actually applying for OWGR points right now. We’re actually putting in our application probably over the weekend, if not Monday. And it’s a very compelling application. We’ve worked very, very closely with the technical committee understanding all the components of what you need to apply for it.”
With Norman having recently revealed that he’d secured an extra $2 billion cash boost to expand the Series from eight to 14 tournaments, and more high-profile PGA Tour players, including Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed, signed up, a controversial saga that is threatening to divide the game appears to have plenty more room to run.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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